Winner of the BCIA Judge’s Special Award Category

Prior’s Court has won the BCIA Judge’s Special Award Category for their new Seasons Children’s Homes. Prior’s commissioned Tuttle Architects and Archibald Shaw design engineers to design the homes for severely autistic children, using MCS as the contractors for the construction process. Other contributors included Hurley Palmer Flatt, Ridge & Partners, DLA, and Star Services.

Below they discuss their reasons for entering the competition, what effect the award has had and their advice to aspiring contenders.

1. Why did you decide to enter the BCI Awards last year?

As more people were exposed to our new building it was clear that we had built something special. We had positive comments from parents of young people, who had direct experience of the difficulties
of bringing up a severely autistic person in a family home, which was designed for normal domestic living. We also had positive comments from the regulator of our services, Ofsted, who said it set a new benchmark in facilities for these young people.

We decided to enter the BCI awards to hopefully obtain validation from the building industry experts that we had designed and built something special.

2. How has winning this affected your business since your win?

The award has enabled us to demonstrate external validation of the high quality design & build of the facility as well as the positive impact the environment has had on the lives of the severely autistic children, whose home it has become. We are able to communicate this to parents of prospective new students as well as the local authorities, who fund the placements. An unexpected benefit has been the increased awareness prior’s Court has built amongst other specialist care provisions. We have had two organisations visit the new building and we have shared our design experience and thus benefited the whole sector as well as just Prior’s Court.

3. What advice would you give to someone entering this year?

Just do it. Bearing in mind that we are not a building contractor or specialist supplier of building services we were slightly worried about whether we would have the technical expertise to complete the application form. We were very well supported by the organisers of the award, who gave us excellent advice on how to approach the award submission. With this support and help from the design and construction team behind the project the submission process was very easy. It is also a great opportunity, through the site visit, to have the views of a very varied and senior group of people, who would otherwise never have visited us.

4. Why should one enter the BCI Awards?

The process is easy
You learn something going through the process
You get to meet people you would not otherwise
The publicity of being part of a very credible award is valuable

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